Tips for Making a Fire Damage Claim
Commercial Building Fire
When your Washington County, Tennessee, commercial property has experienced fire damage, the claim process can be frustrating, at the very least. There are a few factors that make this difficult:
- Determining the scope of the loss
- Creating a complete inventory of items that were damaged
- Figuring out what's covered by the insurance company
- Handling your emotions over the fire and resulting damage
There's some good news, however; you don't have to work through this process alone. Call SERVPRO of Washington County and there many professionals who can help you successfully complete the claims and reconstruction process.
Tips for Making a Successful Claim
Before you get into the claim filing process, there are a few points to keep in mind:
Photographic evidence that includes both before and after pictures is vital. Any records or receipts you have from purchasing business equipment and furnishings are also helpful. Your insurance adjuster can help you through the process of gather documentation.
Don't try to clean or repair electronics and other equipment. Make sure you record water and fire damage to these items. Then, talk to your insurance company about how to proceed. Some insurance companies prefer that you contact specific cleanup and restoration companies to handle all of the repairs.
Ask your agent whether the insurance company plans to hire a forensic accountant. This professional may ask for some financial statements. It's okay to ask why those statements are necessary, and it's also okay for you to hire a professional from an accounting firm you trust.
Fire Mitigation Advice
Talk to multiple professionals to learn more about fire mitigation. As you work through your inventory of damaged items and all the requirements necessary to complete a satisfactory claim, keep a notebook on hand to jot down suggestions and information about avoiding fire damage in the future. Representatives from the fire department may have great advice. Your insurance company, the professionals who handle repairs, and the adjuster may all have suggestions for avoiding future fires.
Protecting My Facility From Bacteria
HOW DO I PROTECT MY FACILITY FROM BACTERIA?
Protecting your facility from bacteria involves cleaning and disinfecting regularly. Cleaning involves wiping visible dirt and grime away from surfaces, while disinfecting kills any bacteria remaining. Applying disinfectant to a dirty surface does not help, because once the dirt is wiped away, surviving pathogens may remain underneath the layers of dirt.
Clean the surface thoroughly, and then use a disinfectant to kill the microbes you want to target. Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging. If you do not let a disinfectant sit on a surface for the appropriate amount of time, you will not guarantee the disinfection that you need.
Our 3-step Clean, Disinfect, and Protect system thoroughly disinfects your workplace. The Clean and Disinfect steps help to inactivate viruses like the one that causes COVID-19. The third step, Protect, provides antimicrobial protection against bacteria, mold, and fungi for up to 90 days. This post-disinfection service can help protect against a variety of microorganisms that cause serious illnesses like MRSA, Staph infections, and Meningitis.
Know The Signs
Heavy storms may come and go quickly. It is important to know the signs and warnings of a severe storm and know when to take shelter. Not everyone watches the news. So, if you see or hear a thunderstorm in the distance, get to a safe indoor location. It might seem like a harmless storm, but lighting can strike for miles so don’t be outside admiring it. If you get hit by a lightning bolt, it can be deadly or even leave you with long term side-effects. If you have severe wind warnings in your area, try to bring in or secure patio furniture, decorations, or plants that could become flying debris. You don’t want to see your trampoline four houses down in your neighbor’s pool after the storm passes. If you have any farm animals or outside animals in general, please protect them by taking them inside your barn or your home until the storm has passed. Most animals will try to seek shelter on their own but to make sure they are safe they will need your help.
That One Water Call
I remember a time when I got a call from a young woman who was in such disarray, you could not understand anything she was saying. I finally got her calmed down and she explained why she was so upset. She was filling up the tub in her bathroom for a nice bubble bath after a long hard day at work. As the tub was filling up, she poured in her bubble bath and lit some candles. While she was waiting, she got a call and ran downstairs to answer the phone. It was from a loved one that lived out of town that she hadn’t heard from in months. Needless to say, she got distracted by the excitement of the phone call and forgot all about the bath she started upstairs. She said she was on the phone for about 10-15 mins when she heard a huge gushing sound. When she turned around, water was running down her stairs like a waterfall. She said it damaged most of her upstairs and was even coming through the ceiling downstairs. She was devastated. Her advice was “when taking a bath, stay in the bathroom from start to finish and let that phone call go to voicemail”.
Not All Storms Are The Same
Severe thunderstorms and the hazardous conditions they produce – cloud-to-ground lightning; hail; tornadoes; flash flooding – are often part of the forecast in Northeast Tennessee during the warmer months. They can be forecasted ahead of time or occur unexpectedly, with little or no warning. Large hail can damage property such as roofs and windows, a lightning strike can cause a destructive fire, and whipping winds can uproot trees and break off branches onto properties. Any one of these threats in combination with excessive rain, can lead to considerable structural damage.
NWS classifies a thunderstorm as severe when it can produce 58 mph winds or greater and/or one-inch or larger hail. Beginning Aug. 2, 2021, Severe Thunderstorm Warnings have two new damage threat categories designed to promote immediate action, ‘destructive damage’ and ‘considerable damage.’
- The criteria for a ‘destructive’ thunderstorm damage threat is 80 mph winds or greater and/or 2.75-inch diameter hail (baseball-size). This warning will activate Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on smartphones, similar to tornado and flash flood warnings.
- The criteria for a ‘considerable’ thunderstorm damage threat is 70-79 mph winds and or 1.75-inch diameter hail (golf ball-sized). This will not activate WEA on smartphones.
Each year, nationwide, only 10% (10,000 of 100,000) of all severe thunderstorms reach the destructive category, on average. Most of these storms are damaging wind events, such as derechos (straight-line winds) and supercell thunderstorms. According NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), 13 of the 22 costliest weather disasters in 2020 were severe thunderstorms.
Storm Safety And Preparedness
Most residents in the area have complained about Northeast Tennessee’s unpredictable weather. Between the wind patterns and humidity, storms can intensify quickly. It’s important to regularly maintain your residential, commercial, or public building because damaging weather conditions, specifically high winds, and heavy rainfall, are possible any time of the year.
The best time to prepare for a severe summer storm is before it happens. Storms move fast or change course, leaving less time to get ready. Make sure you’re ready in advance by reviewing your emergency plan and preparing your home and business. Northeast Tennessee property owners can take these preventative measures to help reduce damage from destructive summer storms.
- Clean gutters and drains.
- Ensure downspouts and other water run-off is directed away from the foundation.
- Cut down or trim trees in danger of falling.
- Bring in or secure lightweight outdoor items.
- Keep important documents in a waterproof container.
- Move valuables and electronics to higher levels.
- Review insurance policies and make sure personal documents are up to date.
- Plan how to access the latest information ahead of the storm and have multiple ways to get warnings.
- Assemble a disaster supply kit that includes food and water, medicine/prescriptions, batteries, flashlights, phone chargers, and have cash on hand.
- Only run diesel generators outdoors to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Fill up your vehicle’s gas tank prior to a hurricane and move it to a safe location.
- Cover windows with shutters or plywood before strong hurricanes to protect against flying debris.
- Develop a hurricane evacuation plan and have a supplies bag packed. Know your local evacuation zone in case you are ordered to evacuate quickly.
- Plan for your pets.
- Have SERVPRO of Washington County‘s phone number, (423)434-0046, saved in your contacts in case your home or business experiences property damage.
Protecting My Facility From Viruses
HOW DO I PROTECT MY FACILITY FROM VIRUSES?
Many of the same agents that eliminate bacteria also destroy viruses. EPA-registered disinfectants protect against a wide spectrum of threats, and if you have a specific concern (such as tackling the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19) you can find lists dedicated to those specific threats.
SERVPRO of Washington County decontamination and disinfection specialists are equipped to help keep your workplace safe from infectious diseases such as COVID-19. It is important to note that while our antimicrobial protection lasts against most pathogens for 90 days, it does not apply to viruses. Regular cleaning and disinfecting are crucial to the destruction of viral threats.
STOP THE SPREAD OF VIRUSES
Regular cleaning and disinfection are critical to stopping the spread of illness, whether at home or at the workplace. Contacting trained decontamination experts to properly, thoroughly disinfect your business is the safest way to get the job done thoroughly.
What To Do?
If you have ever been a victim of a house fire or a water damage, you know how devastating it can be. Most of the time you just don’t know where to begin. There are so many steps to take to get your house back to feeling like home again. Rather you have already experienced the tragedy, or this is your first time, SERVPRO can help relieve some of that stress by taking most of the responsibility off your shoulders and into ours. Given your permission, SERVPRO will contact your insurance company and discuss all the details with your adjuster and agent. Sometimes your adjuster may not be able to come out to your home to inspect as quickly as you may need, but SERVPRO can and will. We take pictures of the entire house top to bottom, side to side. We provide a verbal and written briefing of our findings to your insurance company, along with a written estimate on how to repair your home. From demolition of burnt material to cleaning soot off all surfaces, extracting water from the floor to putting walls back up and painting. We can take care of it all. SERVPRO will even clean your content either onsite or we can provide climate-controlled storage for your belongings in our own warehouse while your home is being repaired. Rather your home is 600 square feet, or 4000 square feet, rest assured SERVPRO can handle any job, any time, any day! "Like it never even happened."
Steps To Fire Prevention
Keeping a fire contained is one of the most important things. Keeping all doors closed when you are not home or going to sleep is one of the easiest ways to keep the fire from spreading. If you can keep the fire from spreading fast it is likely to do less damage. Less damage means less money you or your insurance is going to have to spend to clean and repair your house, and how much personal belongings that you will lose. Another way to prevent fire is unplugging all electronics when you are not using them. We highly suggest unplugging all electronic devices when you are leaving your house for more than a day. It sounds silly but it takes the chance of fire from starting, that way, completely out of the equation. Another important item to have easily accessible from anywhere in the house, is a fire extinguisher. I would recommend having at least one on each level,or if your house is spread out having one on each end of the house and one located in the kitchen. If you live in a two-story home it is very pertinent to have a fire escape ladder easily accessible. It is a way to make sure everyone can easily escape the house. The last thing anyone wants is to lose a family member or pet due to a house fire, that could have been prevented. Following these few steps can save you and your family from enduring one of the worst nightmares of your life. If you find yourself in a fire situation, please make your first call to SERVPRO of Washington County at 423-434-0046. Here to help!
No Storm SERVPRO Can't Handle
Every home and business in America will experience some type of storm throughout the years. Between, hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, hail, wind, snow, and sandstorms. All these storms can have little to none too large effects on your home or business. Many items can be damaged by a storm such as windows, roofs, siding, crawlspaces, basements, etc. Even the interior of your home or business can be affected depending on the extent of the damage on the outside. These things are very costly to repair and can take a lot of time to reconstruct. Make sure you try your best to be prepared for these situations. In some cases, the damage might be covered by your insurance company, but in most cases a storm damage isn’t covered. Check with your insurance company to see what is covered or what you might be able to add to your policy. Always wait until a storm has passed to inspect your property for damage. Once you have the opportunity, inspect your property thoroughly. The quicker you can locate the damage to your home the easier it is to fix and the less money you will have to spend repairing it. Truth is, no one is ever fully prepared for the unexpected. But if you organize your contacts and paperwork, inspect your property often, and know who to call and when, it can make the process so much smoother for you in the long run. Contact SERVPRO of Washington County at 423-434-0046 for any inspections you may need! We are always happy to help!